As telecommuting has become more prevalent around the world, more American companies have begun to hire people in Israel to join their staff. There are four main reasons why companies choose to do this.
Tapping into Israeli talent
Israel is called the Start Up Nation because of the ingenuity and talent of its best and brightest. Many Israelis have learned specialized skills during their army service and have been taught to think out of the box and dream big. Companies looking for exceptional talent will often find it in Israel. This is especially true in the hi-tech industry but by no means limited to it.
Savings on salary
Israeli salaries tend to be slightly lower than American ones, so it can sometimes be less expensive to hire someone in Israel to do the same job. Of course, salary is very much dependent on industry and experience, and not every Israeli will work for a lower salary than his or her American counterpart.
Certain industries, such as medicine and customer support, require staff to work overnight. Israel is 7 hours ahead of the US, so an Israeli employee can provide services during his daylight hours while his American colleagues get a good night’s sleep.
For instance, JTA reported that Dr. Warren Isakow, an intensive care physician, works from 4 AM to 4 PM Israel time for hospitals around the US. Using software developed for this purpose, he directs procedures from his home office in Modiin, Israel, half a world away.
Another reason that American companies employ Israeli workers is that they had an excellent employee who wanted to move to Israel and they didn’t want to lose him or her. Instead of giving up on an outstanding asset, searching for and training someone new, they prefer to switch to a remote work arrangement with their current staff member. This arrangement is often mutually beneficial to both employer and employee and can last for many years.
Outsourcing to Israel has all the advantages listed above but it also comes with challenges. These are some of the issues to consider:
Employer’s obligation to the Israeli government
An American company hiring an Israeli must take into consideration that the Israeli government may call this an Israeli office and tax the company accordingly. Some companies solve this by having the employee set himself up as an independent contractor or business owner in Israel, with the American company billed as a client.
Employee’s obligations to the Israeli government
An arrangement where the employee becomes an independent contractor is beneficial to the American company, but it comes with serious drawbacks for the employee. This is because American citizens residing outside of the US are still obligated to file taxes and will have to pay 15% Social Security as independent contractors. Many dual citizens will balk at this arrangement and prefer to work for an Israeli employer in order to avoid these payments.
A less expensive and more efficient solution to this problem is to hire Route 38 to provide services to the American company. A dual citizen wishing to work for this company becomes an employee of Route 38, which pays his salary and deducts all the taxes and payments required by the Israeli government. This is a win-win, because the employee doesn’t owe Social Security to the US government and has a smoother transition into Israeli life, while the American company doesn’t have to open an entity in Israel, with all its implications.
Remote work is a different animal than office work. Particularly at the beginning, it may be difficult to communicate effectively in order to get things done efficiently and well. This problem is exacerbated by the time difference. Luckily, technology has advanced enough that task management software, virtual meeting platforms and social media make it easier to stay in touch. The 7-10 hour time difference does allow for some overlap between American and Israeli work hours, and Israelis are often flexible with their schedules in order to accommodate their overseas colleagues.
Is outsourcing to Israel a good idea? If the last few years have taught us anything, it’s that agility and flexibility are key to a successful business. If a company can tap into new talent pools, save money, cover nighttime hours or keep a good employee, outsourcing to Israel is certainly an excellent option.